Sunday, April 27, 2014

Reading: Unlikely Friendships

Unlikely Friendships was written by National
Geographic writer, Jennifer Holland. 
I know it's said that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but when I saw a photograph of a monkey and a pigeon cuddling on the front of the photographic book Unlikely Friendships by National Geographic writer Jennifer Holland and published by Workman Publishing in 2011, I judged.  I judged this book to be sweet.  I judged this book to be filled with cute photographs that would make me go "Aww!"  I judged this book to contain real-life accounts of unusual friendships between animals.  And this book lived up to its expectations!  
My own unlikely friendship pair
at home! 

Unlikely Friendships includes several photographs of unlikely friendships between animals that usually operate as predator/prey in the food chain.  A story is included for each photograph to tell how the animals became friends and what the creatures are doing today.  While I enjoyed reading about all of the unusual pairings, a few that stuck out to me include: 

•The Black Bear and the Black Cat: This friendship was born with a sneaky stray cat snuck into the black bear exhibit at the zoo.  When zoo staff found her, she was cuddled up with the black bear, and when the bear's exhibit was renovated and the cat could no longer see her dear friend, zoo staff reported that she appeared deeply distressed.  Once the repairs were made and the bear was brought back to the exhibit, bear and cat resumed their friendship which, at the time of publication, had lasted for a decade. 

•The Bobbed Tail Dog and the Bobbed Tail Cat:  After the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, rescue workers discovered a dog with a bobbed tail and a cat with a bobbed tail traveling the streets together.  The dog, who had been tied up, had apparently gotten away and still had pieces of the chain link around his collar, which constantly clanked to the ground.  The animals were sent to a rescue center where dogs and cats were housed separately; however, this upset the dog (named Bobbi by rescue workers), causing him to howl out in anguish.  The rescue workers allowed the two friends to stay together and discovered that the cat was totally blind (and probably had been that way prior to the disaster).  They believe that the clanking of the dog's collar helped the cat along as the two walked through disaster-torn streets together and eventually were adopted into the same home. 

Tink and Pink make an unlikely friendship pair.
Courtesy of
•The Dachshund and the Piglet: Pink was a baby pig born early and too small to survive with the rest of her piglet brother and sisters.  At the same time she was born, a litter of dachshund puppies was born inside the farmhouse to a mamma named Tink.  Tink nurtured Pink to health, and Pink grew up in a similar fashion to other dogs.  While she now resides in the barn, Tink and Pink still visit each other from time to time.  (This story was also written as a children's book in Little Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby, the owner of Pink and Tink.  

Unlikely Friendships is the kind of book I always wanted to read in school but was never allowed to.  Every year, our science teachers would open with, "What do you want to learn about in science this year?"  Every year, I said the same thing: "Animals."  But we never did, so soon, I stopped asking.  My students love reading about animals and would enjoy the stories in this book that show how animals have feelings, emotions, and the capacity for friendship.  Reading a passage from this book from time to time will show my students that they can get along with others, just like the unlikely friends in this book!  For more unusual pairings to share with your students, visit the website of Unlikely Friendships! 

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